Internationwl Writing Instrument Corp.
It is said that writing brushes, invented by the great general Meng Tian of the Qin Dynasty, led to the popularity of calligraphy in China for twenty-five centuries. Today, the name "Meng Tian" as included in the Chinese title of IWI stands for not only writing brushes but also popular modern pens. The ever-lasting historical legend started the story of writing instruments and the new legend of Taiwan's stationery industry…
Beginning as Stationer
President Lin's grandfather, among the first generation of his family to settle in Taiwan from Fu Zhou, China, managed the store "Fulianchun" of incense, candles, and giftware in Wan Hua under the Japanese colonization. In 1960, President Lin's father and uncle sold stationery as well, which developed into the wholesale and then the manufacture of stationery. The wholesale around whole Taiwan expanded into the world market.
When President Lin studied at a university in 1985, a man named Wang visited President Lin's father to produce a pen withembossment by unique means of combining printing, etching, painting, polishing, and electroplating techniques. This amazingly creative design resulted in President Lin' father decision to cooperate with Mr. Wang to found Indatin Industrial Co. Ltd. So far, IWI still keeps a 129-cm-high (up to the chest of an average adult) sample pen, which was carved out of solid wood at that time and is still marked with "INDATIN."
For the anniversary of President Chiang Kai-shek's death in 1976, IWI produced the "Chiang Kai-shek memorial pen", on which tubes the portrait and the text were combined with the then creative technology.
Having graduated from the Department of Architecture at Tunghai University in 1978, President Lin worked at the Sen Chiu-Hei Architect Office for six months. The President, with the idea to help his family corporation for a while, extended his enrollment into the current devotion. As he says, President Lin attempted to promote the sale of the domestic giftware by the basic and empirical method of "paying visits one by one." In the President's idea, "the brave assumption, the careful verification, the data collection, and the attempts one by one" are the process towards success.
Around 1978, President Lin established the "International Fancy Pen Products Corp." and developed the "Pen Watch" for the electronic industry. To manufacture that watch for the huge amount of orders in the world market, IWI cooperated and coordinated closely with Taiwan's and Hong Kong's factories of digital watches. In order that advanced technologies of the pen manufacture should be developed, the abrupt rise in quality and the gradual fall in price have made Taiwan's stationery industry the top in the world eventually.
The series of creation such as "pens with embossment", "Chiang Kai-shek memorial pens", and "Pen Watches" led to the growing demands for sales and brought the potential opportunity for IWI.
Visits to Overseas Exhibitions for Market Expansion
Realizing the problems of the limited domestic market like fierce competition, many merchandize returns, and late payment collections, the visionary President Lin decided on the market expansion abroad.
The International Writing Instrument Corp. (IWI) was established by the re-arrangement of the President's two corporations in 1985. The period from 1985 to 1995, the most important for IWI's overseas expansion, focused on the European and American markets. President Lin remembered visiting clients everywhere in the world on his own at the start of that expansion. For instance, the President visited the clients in Switzerland, Austria, Holland, and Belgium during the break among the exhibitions in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and UK, followed by the visits to five or six places along the eastern and western coasts during the break between another two exhibitions in USA. The trip with sample products flew for forty-five days around the globe.
Paying much more efforts than other corporations, President Lin built the strong mutual trust and relations with clients by his frequent visits and exhibitions at home and abroad. His success is quite "amazing to clients and admired by other corporations." All those experiences have contributed to the President's further understanding of the market and to the status of IWI in global market.
The attempts in the past have come to five key steps for IWI's overseas market expansion:
1. To collect the name lists of foreign clients.
2. To advertise in the domestic and foreign media.
3. To visit international exhibitions for pen manufacturers, importers, and exporters abroad.
4. To present one's brand by attending domestic and overseas exhibitions.
5. To win the clients' trust for their introduction to more clients.
Furthermore, the great support from three vice Presidents (Ms. Helen Huang, Mr. Steven Lin and Mr. Johnathan Lin ) in the financial, sales, and factory affairs has contributed to IWI's rank as the no1 exporter and manufacturer of writing instruments since 1992 by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Taiwan .
IWI's global market expansion goes the most smoothly in Europe due to 45% of IWI's turnover volume there. So far, the efforts of all IWI's personnel have contributed to 35% of the turnover volume in Northern, Middle, and Southern America and to 20% in Middle East, Southeastern Asia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Australia, and Africa. The "IWI" brand is seen everywhere around the world.
Quality Improvement and Creative Design for Brand Manufacture
The continual negotiations with clients have taught IWI the lesson of quality improvement and creative design for brand manufacture. OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturing) goes through ODM (Original Design Manufacturing) towards OBM (Own Brand Manufacturing).
"The never-ending accumulation of quality and brand is a very important intangible asset for corporations," says President Lin. "IWI is always dedicated to maintaining the high quality and brand."
A "pen" is not only a writing instrument to be sold in stores, but also a creative product for promotion & gift business. IWI has designed many special pens:
1. The Pen Watch is a combination of LCD digital watch & pen.
2. The projector torch consists of the LED and the pen.
3. The LED light pen in different colors consists of the LED and the transparent grip.
4. Combined with the infrared rays, the light pen becomes the laser pointer for presentations.
So many creative designs come from just a concept of light ! Some motif or imprint added to the pen clips also enhence the advertising purpose of the pen..
According to President Lin, the 4P principles of marketing management are Products, Price, Place and Promotion, all of which require creativity. The creativity in the product features and in the promotion will make more competitive products.
Design in Taiwan to Manufacture Overseas
To reduce the cost, IWI decided to build the factory in Mainland China in 1997 , with subcontracted manufacturers in Mainland China by OEM. In 2002, IWI built a factory "IWI (Shanghai) Co., Ltd" as an assembly plant, an office for business department and showroom to display products.
IWI bought a pen factory in Tongxiang City, Jiasing, Zhejiang Province in 2004 to found the "IWI (Zhejiang) Corp." The factory of the IWI (Zhejiang) has a 40-acre area. Its six factory buildings and complete machinery like metal processing, automatic lathes, painting, electroplating, molds, printing, laser carving, plastic injection, manufacture & assembly, and so on perform the manufacture tasks perfectly.
Now, most significant foreign clients ask to inspect the factory for the equipment, the working environment, the safety, the hygiene, and the qualified labor payment so as to sign the contract for the long-term cooperation. Those corporations, meeting these challenging inspection items demanded by the clients, will be more competitive.
"Circle of Life" through Generations
Since 2004, the Lin family formally had got the third generation trained and recruited freshmen in sales and factory affairs.
The global management strategy of "Design in Taiwan to Manufacture Overseas" shall be fully commanded during the active transformation of OEM into ODM and OBM. Besides, the creative thinking for changes is needed to grow the sales with the combination of Internet technology and to develop the competitive key expertise. That way, the highly internationalized and globalized corporation will definitely go on generation by generation, in the "circle of life."